In The News

Constructed wetland improves water quality, flow of intensely polluted urban river

If you don’t remember the moral of Aesop’s fable regarding the city mouse and his country-dwelling cousin, that’s okay — neither does the rest of the human race. As of 2008, more than half of the world’s population lives in an urban setting. The population shift from rural to urban areas is changing the way people live, work and play, but it’s also having an overwhelming impact on the environment. Massive metropolises such as New York City, Mumbai and Sao Paulo are locked in a constant struggle to manage the garbage, wastewater and particulate emissions from their millions of residents, while also supporting growth and industry.

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New tech filters indoor volatile organic compound pollution

Researchers have found that high indoor levels of volatile organic compounds can have a detrimental effect on people. According to Chemical & Engineering News , a new metal mesh-based air purification system developed by Jeffrey G. Weissman and his coworkers at Precision Combustion may provide a solution. Less expensive than traditionally used platinum and palladium, these systems can perform the same function with a microlith, or stacks of mesh much like a window screen. The metal mesh provides more surface area and better heat and mass transport properties than traditional catalytic supports, such as the ceramic ones in cars. Faster, lighter and smaller, the metal mesh-based microliths seem to be a technology poised to take over the future of air filtering.

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In Beijing, air quality app ordered to stop reporting air quality data from U.S. Embassy station

A popular app for determining air pollution levels across China was ordered by the Chinese government to stop gathering data over the United States Embassy in Beijing, according to Sinosphere, the New York Times blog covering China . The air pollution levels determined by the app were believed by the government to be an inaccurate representation of the real pollution level over the Embassy, which they felt was lower than that reported by the app. Determined to impress a visiting group of American dignitaries including President Obama, Chinese officials not only disabled the app’s data gathering over the Embassy but also halted production in thousands of pollution-belching factories and prevented many Chinese citizens from driving during the Americans’ stay.

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